While the Duke of Sussex, 38, and Meghan Markle were spending the December 2019 holidays in Canada, Harry tried to set up a discussion with his grandmother, according to Valentine Low‘s book Courtiers: The Hidden Power Behind the Crown.
“Harry seemed to be under the impression that they could just sort it out by email before he and Meghan got back to London on January 6, ,” read an excerpt published by The Times on Sunday, September 25. “The reply they got, however, was that this would require a proper family conversation.”
According to Low, who is a royal correspondent for the U.K. newspaper, the Invictus Games founder and the Suits alum, 41, were told that no such conversation could occur until January 29. “This went down incredibly badly,” the excerpt continued. “It fed into the narrative that they were not being taken seriously by the palace machinery, or by the rest of the family.”
The BetterUp CIO then reportedly tried to set up a meeting with Elizabeth on his own, but that attempt also failed.
“The message was conveyed to him that the queen had been confused about her diary, and was no longer available,” Low wrote. “Harry was incensed, because it was not true: the courtiers had got in the way, it seemed, because they saw the meeting with the queen as an attempt to pick the queen off before Harry started talks with the rest of the family.”
After he was denied a meeting with the monarch, Harry allegedly considered driving straight from the London airport to Sandringham, where the royal family spends Christmas, so he could speak to his grandmother. “He eventually dropped the idea, but it was a sign of his frustration that he even contemplated such a move,” Low added.
“After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution,” the duo wrote in a joint statement in January 2020. “We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen. It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment.”
At the time, an insider told Us Weekly that the couple didn’t receive the queen’s “official blessing” for releasing the statement. “It’s not that they didn’t care — it was a miscommunication,” the source added.
Earlier this month, Elizabeth died at age 96 while at her estate in Balmoral, Scotland. The Telegraph later reported that Harry found out about her death just five minutes before it was announced to the world. According to the outlet, King Charles III called Harry when he was still on his way to Balmoral Castle, but by the time he landed, Buckingham Palace had already announced the news.
A spokesperson for the king, 73, reacted to the report in a rare statement to the Daily Mail, hours before the queen’s September 19 funeral. “The public was only informed after every family member had been informed,” read the statement, which did not include any details about when Harry was given the news.